Super Sami Roll Review (STEAM/PC)
Developed: Sonzai Games
Genre: 3D Platformer
Release Date: July 21st,2021
*Game provided to me by XPLUS
''A frustrating good time''
Super Sami Roll is a 3D platforming game that is developed by Sonzai Games and published by XPlus. Ever wonder what a baby between Sonic, Super Monkey Ball and Super Mario 3D World would look like? Well you now have your answer with Super Sami Roll. Rolling and speed of Sonic, weight of movement like Super Monkey Ball and graphic style and creativity of 3D World. But do all these elements actually make it a good game or is it just a jumbled clump of a mess? Only one way to find out, so as Nicolas Cage would say.... ''Ok, let's ride''.
You thought I was gonna use a limp bizkit rolling line didn't you?
Sami’s on a mission to rescue his friend Vera and he needs your help!. Do you have what it takes to guide him through the dozens and dozens of levels to complete this journey to save his friend?
When it comes to the game play department, Super Sami Roll is all over the place.. in a very good way and sometimes maybe even a little bit of a bad way. But I won't leave you in suspense too long and I'll explain why I feel this way overall. When Super Sami Roll is at its best, its when you're able to speed your way through levels without too many hold ups or slow downs because of the momentum you gain rolling around and jumping as Sami. But where it starts hitting a brick wall is when you're forced to take your time and re-adjust your view and aiming to accommodate the level hazard that is presented to you. I both liked this and got kind of annoyed at it because there are certain parts of the game play to me that don't feel like they actually work that well with specific sections of platforming you have to do. It's kind of hard to explain but I'll do my best, but before that, let me actually describe how this game feels and controls first before we get into the nit and gritty.
As Sami, you have multiple forms of traversing, such as your standard slow paced and fast paced rolling, being able to jump or long jump to higher platforms or farther platforms that are a good distance from you and even a yoshi like tongue ability that allows you to grab onto objects to swing across or climb up walls if you're good enough to possibly find a secret or two to skip some of the level and be sneaky. Hehehe sneaky sneaky. Those are the basic mechanics you'll be using in your roughly 3-4 hour playthrough, maybe even 2 hours if you play levels over and over due to the constant deaths you receive that ends up making you memorize the whole dang thing or if you just want to obtain your best time to get a better star rating. Whatever you wish to do is up to you. But regardless of what you do, I feel you're going to have a mix of a REALLY good time and a REALLY bad time, should you go into this game thinking its just a cute little romp of a game and a cake walk. Oh no no, you've come to the wrong conclusion buddy.
As you start your game, you're greeted to this amazing opening animated sequence that feels straight up out of the 90s. Closest thing It reminds me of is the good ol Sonic CD ''Sonic Boom'' opening animated cinematic and this thing is damn awesome. I didn't expect anything that level of high quality right off the bat and that opening cinematic really sets the tone for the rest of your time with Super Sami Roll. You're getting yourself into a mixed bag of nostalgia that incorporates the look and feel of classic video game franchises into one small package and for the most part, ya it works really well. The main character is extremely cute and well designed, the music has that head bop feel that helps you get yourself into rhythm by impulsively playing to the beat of the music or humming along with it to keep your concentration and the game play overall can range from fast and intense to slow and strategic. All makings for a game that could potentially be a classic. No matter what era it was developed and released in. That is no easy task nowadays.
As your journey to save your friend Vera officially begins, you're tasked with going through 4 separate areas, each area consisting with a dozen levels and a boss fight. Each section/world/map, whatever you want to call it, that you make it to, are all unique and diverse in the way they're structured and down to their theme. As you progress through each stage, you come across beach levels, ice levels, fiery volcanic levels, desert levels, all of which make you think back to something like a Super Mario game, mainly Super Mario Bros 3 on NES because that's exactly the way your world map is designed. As you move about your world map, you will see that it is just like Super Mario Bros 3 with how you move your character along a level grid and you are even able to go to a stop gap area for extra upgrades such as being able to use your coins to buy ways to stop the timer during a level you play or change the color of your Sami to blue and pink and many other colors. Wait? you say, ''coins, upgrades, time limit, you never mentioned that!''. Well calm your britches, I'm very in depth in my reviews kiddo, I always get to the finer details, even in smaller games I do, so shhh.
Super Sami Roll has multiple difficulty levels for you to select. None of which actually change the way the game actually plays from what I've noticed in regards to mainly the structure and design of the level, but it more so makes it harder or easy in form of time limit and check points. Each level is split into multiple sections, beginning, middle or end, some of which allowing you grab one check point for shorter levels or the bigger levels allowing to have to pick up two check points along your way. These all vary depending on which difficulty you choose to play on. Should you choose to play on Easy, you will not have to worry about collecting coins. Why would you need to collect coins in the first place? well this is because in the games normal mode, collecting coins adds seconds to your overall time limit you have in order to progress through the level. Should you miss coins and not pick them up, you will NOT be able to complete a level, so this makes the game force you to speed up and grab as many coins as you can. But in Easy mode, none of that matters, no time limit but more check points as well. Normal mode is where you have your time limit and a few check points and hard mode, basically you're on your own, tough luck, ya jerk. Having way too much trouble completing a level due to its time limit? simple, switch to easy mode to beat it and move onto to the next one. But.... uh oh, sometimes not even easy mode will save you. Oh lord.
The first world of this game and even up till the second world gives you a feeling of false insecurity. They start off very easy with rolling and jumping in a typical platformer fashion and each individual level offering you a different mechanic to use in order to make the game play stay fresh, such as rolling across wooden piers as it sinks down into the water, hitting buttons that make you fly in the sky to your next objective, hitting speed ramps on Mario Kart looking levels that sends you flying to another platform, bouncing on balloons to make it to your destination. All of these are done beautifully and show just how much of a grip the developers have on creativity and originality. Its so good. Everything feels like they designed the game specifically for the purpose and objectives they're having you complete. But with great power, comes great responsibility and I feel the creative side takes a backseat near the end of World 3, mission 10-12. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying its poorly designed or even bad levels, that's not what I'm getting it. What I'm referring to is creativity got in the middle of the game mechanics themselves. Still doesn't make sense? Then let me try explain a little more so that you can understand why I'm so conflicted here.
When rolling as Sami, his control scheme feels very weighed down. Think of titles like Super Monkey Ball or in titles like Super Mario Galaxy where you're standing on a ball and trying to move your way around with the delayed and heavy feeling controls. This is the way Super Sami Roll feels in both its movement and its jumping mechanics. Turning can be a bit slow as well and doing both camera turning, character turning, as well as speeding up and jumping, all while feeling weighed down, overall works most of the time, its in the later levels where it throws the pacing of the game off, at least for me. Towards the later half of the game, obstacles get harder and require more precise movements along smaller ramps, disappearing platforms, perfectly timed jumps, but certain levels like World 3s levels 10 to 12 seem to be completely against the games own mechanics. Now let me be clear and iterate that these aren't unplayable levels, I managed to beat them and the entire game, it's just that they require more frustration than they need to. Being hard isn't the issue because there are a TON of levels that are hard as hell in the later missions, that feel made for the mechanics, such as world 3's balloon bouncing level where you have to bounce off balloons for a good 5-6 minutes, all while dodging spikes and other enemies and even the volcanic level where you must prioritize speed to move across lava platforms and dodge fire monsters. Those levels are hard and even enter the realm of amazing. But some levels just don't feel as optimized as others and this makes it extremely frustrating. Having to repeat the same level for over an hour because the game doesn't feel designed to do this specific task due to the weight of the control, the camera and the jumping mechanic of the character all feeling slightly delayed, doesn't make for a very fun time. I legit stopped having fun during the later half of the third world and that was heartbreaking to me, cause until that point, I was having an absolute blast.
But luckily I'm not one to give up and I'm extremely stubborn and I do not like to be beaten either by the game I'm playing or by my own shortcomings. So I did manage to beat world 3 and thought to myself ''oh man, I hope to lord baby yoshi that the remainder of the game picks up where it left off and isn't a repeat of the world 3 missions'' and surprisingly, it wasnt. Thank beebo. World 4, all the way up to its end game boss fight, returns to the way the game was from World 1 to mid world 3. It was still hard as nails but completely in line with how the game was designed mechanics wise. Nothing felt cheap to the player and beating a level that made you frustrated gave you a sense of satisfaction that made you exclaim ''yessssss'' after completing a level. Yes, even with the ''yess'' fist celebration, it happened. Hold up, boss fights? I completely skimmed over that didn't I? Oops. Well there aren't that many boss fights to be fair. They aren't necessarily hard either. All boss fights take place on the 13th or 14th level of each world, all of which include a race to the top of a tower while trying to not let lava get you, which when you reach the top, culminates in a boss fight that ranges from fighting a mech, missile shooting car and even a giant octopus. They're all relatively easily and unless you royally screw up, you probably won't die too many times, if at all, when facing them.
At the end of the day when its all said and done, Super Sami Roll ends up being a very pleasant experience. Sure it has pacing issues with how the game gets during world 3, mechanics that can feel slow or sluggish, jumping and maneuvering that at times feels weighed down and a little unresponsive, but with the awesome graphic and art direction that makes it look similar to Super Mario 3D World, hybrid gameplay that gives it the speedy and fast game play of a classic sonic game, intense levels that can range from extremely fun in both a strategic and frustrating way that gives you the sense of accomplishment when beating it and the creativity used in its platforming, such as moving platforms, bounce jumping into buttons or ramps, using tongue to grip to platforms to save yourself from death. There's just so damn much this game gets right that even the most frustratingly bad sections of this game seem small in comparison to the overall end game.
This game was a treat to play, yes, even when I was raging myself out and not having a good time. I still found myself going back and telling myself, I have to beat this. I got to keep playing. This is a sign of a game that knows what its doing, even during its successes and fails because you always come back for more. The addiction grabs you. This is why I feel very safe in saying this game could end up an absolute classic in the years to come and should not be slept on, even if it will eventually make you want to rip your hair out. So with all that having been said. My verdict is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW
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